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Category Archives: brides

Sweet Midlife TV Girlfriend of the Day: Aunt Viv of “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”

by SweetMidlife

Well, the first Aunt Viv.

Leslie here, y’all! Happy Friday! I’ve been in a lot of hotels lately, and have been doing a lot of channel flipping – I don’t have my DVR full of wedding programing and true crime shows about the murders and such to fall back on, so I’m open to whatever’s on. And what’s on is a lot of “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” the late ’80’s-90s sitcom featuring then jaunty young rapper/future Hollywood big shot Will Smith as a Philly kid sent to live with his rich relatives in Bel-Air, Ca. I loved the show when it was on, and have become fond of its loud Cross Colours-esque, hat and blazer, big gold brooch-happy fashions. I may or may not relate. Those photos have been destroyed, so don’t even bother searching.

Anyhow, the star of the show was, apparently Will and his fresh fish out of water hijinks. But my favorite character, besides Jeffrey the droll butler, was Aunt Viv, the sister of Will’s mom, who’d moved from West Philly to California, having moved all up. There was a little Clair Huxtable to her – she was grounded but classy, with a little more snob appeal than Clare but with an air of being able to drag some skank across a room by her hair if she got in her face, if she really needed to.

I liked her because she reminded me a little of my mom, another classy woman who could get real, real fast, if tested. I also liked her…and I apologize if this sounds weird…her non-cookie cutter looks. Janet Hubert, the actress who originally played Aunt Viv, was a rarity on TV – an ethnic woman over 25 with a starring, non best-friend role, who got to be her fabulous, gorgeous self without cougar jokes, or a preponderance of hot flash jokes, or jokes you would probably see on “Hot In Cleveland.”

(I admit to having never seen that show, because the idea of hot women like Wendy Mallick and Valerie Bertinelli having to act as if their sexuality is freakish makes me want to punch someone in the head. I haven’t decided who yet. I will be in touch. But the commercials say it all. Any fans of it, let me know what I’m missing.)

She was also a dark-skinned black woman, something rarely seen in such a prominent role before or since, who luxuriated in her awesomeness. She wasn’t angsty or dissatisfied outside of the usual sitcom hi-jinks – she knew she was beautiful. She knew her husband adored her, and that her kids did, too. There was a great episode where Aunt Viv decided to audition for a dance part, even though she hadn’t danced since becoming a wife and a mother. She loved her life, but she wanted to feel that it wasn’t too late to be as strong and sexy and fierce as she used to be. She wound up not even taking the role – killing it on the audition and making some snotty young girls recognize was even better. Now that I’m her age, I want to be that awesome. Sometimes, I think I am! I wish there were more women like her on TV right now, whose smarts or professional proficiency doesn’t have to be undercut by being a complete mess personally. (KErry Washington’s Olivia Pope on “Scandal” – Snap out of it, girl.)

Hubert was eventually replaced with Daphne Maxwell-Reid, another beautiful non teeny-boppy actress, who just wasn’t the same. She was pretty. But she wasn’t fierce. Apparently, Hubert does not have good memories of her time on the show, or good feelings about Will Smith – she says he was a diva who got her fired, and two decades later she’s still way, way bitter about it.

I’m sorry for that – it seems a shame to carry that bitterness around with you for so long, and I wonder if it’s impeded her being able to just move on. I want her to know, if she’s out there, that at least one former teen girl appreciated her, that her being on that show made a difference because I am now a 40-something woman who sometimes needs reminding of her fierceness. I hope I can be Aunt Viv. And I want her to know, somewhere, that it made a difference that she was, too.

Old weird love: Celebrating the romance of aches and pains

by SweetMidlife

Grown and sexy. With Spanx!

Leslie here! One of my favorite things about “30 Rock” is Tina Fey’s ability to sneak a surprisingly poignant moment into the most goofily surreal scene. There’s an episode where nutty egomaniac TV star Tracy Jordan has supposedly taken off to Africa (we find out later he’s hiding out in New York), propelling his wife Angie to seize the spotlight with her wacko Bravo reality show “Queen of Jordan” (“HAAAM!)

Angie protests that Tracy’s absence is a good thing because it allows her to come out of his shadow. But in the middle of the wackiness, she admits something to de facto confidante/boss/bewildered observer Liz Lemon – the things about Tracy that drive her insane, like him showing up drunk at their wedding or basically being a crazy person are the same things that draws her to him.

“I miss my weird love,” she wails, and I remember clapping in recognition at that line, because I, too have a weird love. And an old love, relatively speaking – not older than me, because we’re both old. A love that I found at the relatively advanced age of 38, past the age where I was my youngest or cutest or skinniest, at the age where 10 p.m. is the time we’re coming home exhausted rather than headed out. Sometimes, he’ll lovingly point out when I have an old-lady whisker (Don’t worry, 20-somethings. It’s coming for you one day) and I’ll kiss him on his bald head.

And we wouldn’t have it any other way.

I have the luxury of knowing what my husband looked like at 15, when he was all dark hair and swagger and high school hallway card games in his Camaro. And he sure was cute. But he was just some guy in my class. He wasn’t mine. What he looked like from 23-37 I know from photos, and he was cute, but he wasn’t mine. The 41-year-old with the bald head who falls asleep early and is a proud baseball and wrestling uncle to his nephew, who’s as confident in the Spongebob aisle at Toys-R-Us as he is in a silk shirt at a casino? He’s mine. I would cut a skank over him. And I am madly, passionately, girlfriendly in love with him. I sometimes wish we’d gotten together sooner, but only because that would have given us even more time together.

The woman that he fell in love with was 20 pounds past her marathon weight, not as fly as she used to be and given to crankiness, as well as to karaoke binges, true crime shows and stuff about wedding dresses. And he fell in love with her anyway. I’ll look wistfully at my skinny photos and say “Don’t you wish you’d met her?” And he’ll look at me and say “Why? I love you!” And then Billy Joel comes into my head and we love each other just the way we are, crankiness and cellulite and baldness and weird whiskers. And then someone falls asleep on the couch.

I don’t love him in spite of that stuff, or vice versa. We fell in love with the old, weird versions of each other. And that makes me smile. And then wanna take a nap, because I’m old.

“The Bachelor” or “Why 40-year-olds don’t do this show”

by SweetMidlife

This is what forever looks like. Ha ha ha! No, it doesn't!

(A version of this is also on PBPost.com)

Leslie here! Let’s be honest. They don’t cast 40-year-olds on this show primarily because young people don’t think 40-year-olds are sexy (although I have met Daniel Craig and I beg to differ.) But there’s another reason that older contestants, particularly women, wouldn’t run to apply to this thing unless they were desperate for love, attention, fame or some other prize that their lack of meds required…

…because no self-respecting adult woman that I know is going to be cool with a man that they’ve gotten serious with enough to consider a proposal literally tomorrow dating someone else so seriously that they could propose to either of them at any time.

In other words…we should be past the “Seeing other people” stage long before I consider even meeting your mama, let alone consider accepting official jewelry. But these pretty, young starry-eyed ladies on this show don’t seem to have a problem with going the distance with a man – in this case, Bachelor Ben – going “I could spend my life with either of you. Seriously. It’s a toss-up.”

In real life, that situation might get a fist tossed toward your nose. But on TV, it gets you a finale. A finale whose ratings were, as my friend Johnette says, kinda booty. And not the good kind of booty.

For what it’s worth, I thought that Ben and Courtney, the pretty but villainous-ish model of his choice, had the most sobering and real response to what happens when reality – the off-camera kind – sinks in. You’re home. You can see the show, and the parts of the other person that you couldn’t see during filming. You are hearing from the rest of America what they think of what they’ve seen. And they aren’t kind. You aren’t allowed to be in the presence of that person you’re supposed to be marrying and spending eternity with, making Switzerland and fantasy suites and mountaintop proposals pale in comparison to the everyday.

They both seemed disappointed – and perhaps, too surprised for grown folks – that you can’t count on the casting and magic of a game show to guarantee true love. Shocking shockeroo!

No. Not really. Not to anyone over three. And none of the three year olds I know are that stupid.

Anyway, they both seemed sobered, shockingly so, by the hurts and slings and arrows and flaming bricks of truth thrown at them – She felt that he didn’t have her back when the world came in to put a wall between them, and let them win (I will ALWAYS quote Neil Finn when given the opportunity). He felt like she was so different on TV than with him that it gave him pause, and thought that the pettiness made that version of her contradictory with who she presented herself to be, to him.

But those crazy kids – perhaps with the encouragement of ABC? – decided to give it a go and resumed the engagement. Honestly, I’m not hopeful that they’ll get married, because almost no one on this show ever does, and the cracks are showing so much here that there’s water filling the spaces and it’s forming islands.

But good luck to them.

Happily Married? We Wanna Hear About It.

by SweetMidlife

Lynne here.

So yesterday I wrote about this special on ABC News’ “20/20” that featured celebrities who have had successful marriages.  We thought it was refreshing because most of the marriage stories you hear out of Hollywood are break-ups.  And it made me think that as lovely as it was to hear the stories of people in La-La Land, how even more wonderful it would be to hear YOUR stories.  So, in honor of Valentine’s Day, we wanna hear about your love stories. Been married 6 months? A year? 5? 20? 50? We would love to hear about you and your sweetie, and what makes you stick together.  And if you would let us, we would love to feature your story on our website! Here’s what you can do.  Write a comment here are on our Facebook page, or email us (and send pics!!) to bride35@gmail.com.   Okay? Your stories make people smile, and they give hope to EVERYBODY, single or married, because they give us a picture of what COULD be. And you wanna make people smile, right? Hee. Come on. Tell you story.

Marriage Advice from Our Friends, The Soul Sisters

by SweetMidlife

We have a treat for your guys from another pair of writing siblings! It’s from our high school friends, Jennifer Alhasa and Lara Simmons, who together  write “Dear Soul Sisters”, an online advice column about finding who you are.  Today, they give you, dear Bride at 35 readers, really wonderful advice on how to have a successful marriage. Check it out, and check out their website, which they link to!

First Comes Love, Then Comes Marriage…

By Jennifer Alhasa & Lara Simmons, Dear Soul Sisters

More marriages might survive if the partners realized that sometimes the better comes after the worse.” –Doug Larson

We’re excited to share some of our hard-earned marriage wisdom with you Brides at 35! Modern marriage, while a path with much promise, takes patience, perseverance and sometimes, LOTS of personal space. It’s also one that, through conscious connection, can deliver much joy and rewards worthy of the title True Romance!

Here are some of our top tips for making it over the long haul:

Open and Honest Communication. We can’t stress this one enough. As hard as it may be at times, speaking your truth to your partner is the only way to go. Unspoken truths have a way of building into resentments that fester and cause unseen damage. Speaking the hard truth requires courage – as does hearing it – but it is an effort that is well worthwhile. We always find that the anticipation of the “moment of truth” is far worse than the moment itself. In fact, what we often feel after speaking the whole truth is sweet relief.

Face Each Other Every Day. This advice comes via John Gottman of The Gottman Relationship Institute and goes hand-in-hand with #1. In order to have open and honest communication you need to MAKE time for it. Spend ten minutes every day face to face with your partner. Really LOOK at them. Really LISTEN to them. Really TALK to them. If open and honest communication is the foundation of a good relationship, this is the maintenance that couples can do every single day. We would highly recommend Gottman’s book, “Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work” for even more tips on strengthening your bond and going the distance.

Feel Your Feelings – It’s not always easy to admit to ourselves that our Prince Charming can drive us nuts! You are not alone. It’s very natural to feel the ebb and flow of intimacy and to experience periods of intense anger, frustration and fear. When this happens – and it WILL happen, – we’d suggest you start by writing what’s coming up for you in your private journal. Get it all out on paper, in a safe and sacred space where you can be totally honest about ALL of your feelings, even the really mean, judgmental and fearful ones. While they might not look like it, these are a gateway to finding forgiveness. From a soul perspective, we often marry someone who’ll push exactly the right buttons to find our original wounds and deepest heartbreak. In order to heal these, we need to work through the pain rather than run away lest we continue to repeat the pattern with man after man, spouse after spouse.

Don’t Be Afraid to Get Help. We all need help sometimes and marriage is no exception! If you’ve been struggling for awhile, or if a new issue crops up and you find yourselves locked in conflict, find someone to talk to, either as a couple or individually. Ideally find this person BEFORE you’re in crisis so you have someone at the ready when you need them. Whether it’s for one session or a series of sessions, couples counseling can be just the thing to get you back on track when you are faltering and the rewards are often invaluable!

Remember that Men are Different than Women. When we first fall in love, so much of our focus is on what we have in common, but men and women are really quite different; physically, emotionally, even spiritually. Don’t expect your man to act – or react – the same way as you do about most things and honor his emotional process. While it’s VERY different, his process is as valuable and valid as yours! For more on how we are different creatures, check out the work of Allison Armstrong on Understanding Men. Her insights into how we differ – both biologically and socially – save women vast amounts of time and unnecessary hurt. Sharing this with your man can be both bonding and illuminating too! For a few good laughs on this subject, watch this:


Don’t be Afraid to have Bad Married Sex. We love to give this advice to newlyweds because it kind of freaks them out, but we are serious! Sometimes – especially once you have kids (if you are planning to have them) – you just don’t have time for the “full meal deal” or you aren’t really in the mood for sex at all. But, keeping your sex life humming is a huge step towards greater intimacy. Even quickie sex or bad sex, if both partners you are willing, can bring you closer together AND improve your mood.

Give Each Other as Much Freedom as You Can. When we first get married much of what we love and enjoy is the togetherness. After years of being single and alone, it feels really good to be part of a couple, to know you have a date for major holidays and have someone to come home to at night. But, after awhile, most couples find they need some spaces in their togetherness. We turn to Kahlil Gibran here,

Let there be spaces in your togetherness, And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping. For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together, yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.”
“The Prophet”)

Increased freedom will help keep your relationship – and the individuals in it – happy. And that makes for a healthy relationship.

Take Care of Yourself. In order to bring your best self to your marriage, you need to take good care of yourself as well as your partner. Make sure you put self-care at the top of your priority list and set proper boundaries. This doesn’t mean shutting your partner out emotionally but sometimes it might mean shutting the door! Here are some ways to care for yourself while in relationship:

~ Take a nap alone

~ Take a long, hot bath with candles & sea salt

~ Take a walk in nature or make a day hike out of it

~ Treat yourself to a spa session or lunch date for one

~ Take time to pursue YOUR individual interests

~ Keep your friends a priority and make new connections along the way

Stay in the Moment. When we are in the midst of a difficult time or a tense moment with our partner it’s easy to get overwhelmed and think, “This is how it’s going to be FOREVER!” This is our mind working in conjunction with our Ego to keep us stuck in conflict. When this happens, imagine a wise-cracking Grandma saying to you, “Honey, this is only a moment; it’s not the rest of your life.” (This quote is from an interview in O magazine with Juilana Marguiles. It’s what her mother tells her when she’s having a bad parenting moment.) Take some time to breathe and come back to your center whenever you are feeling overwhelmed by the idea of FOREVER. Remember that neither the good nor the bad is permanent. “This too shall pass.” A bad moment shall soon be replaced by a moment that will remind you why you fell in love with this person in the first place.

Here’s to opening to intimacy, feeling your feelings and getting your socks knocked off over and over again! It’s not always easy but marriage IS well worth it – for you, for him and for the forgiveness we inevitably find along the way! We leave you with the wise words of love expert Leo Buscaglia, “Love is always bestowed as a gift – freely, willingly and without expectation. We don’t love to be loved; we love to love.”

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Britney Spears, Today’s Bride at 30

by SweetMidlife

Our featured bride today is a few years under our designated age group, but I thought it was appropriate to include her because hers is definitely a story of maturity and trying to get it right this time.  I’m talking about Britney Spears, pop darling, tabloid staple, hopefully former hot mess, and future bride!! Britney recently got engaged to her former manager, Jason Trawick, and looks really, really happy.   This will be her third wedding; her first was in Vegas to a childhood friend and that union lasted 55 hours. The second was to her former back-up dancer Kevin Federline, father of her 2 kids. During and after that marriage is when Britney seemed to have a mental breakdown, and did all sorts of unstable things.  A judge even gave her father control of her personal affairs when it seemed as if she couldn’t handle it herself. But then she seemed to turn a corner. She revitalized her career, fell in love and recently, her dad asked the judge to end the conservatorship so that she can regain control of her fortunes.  He says it’s a wedding gift! And I say good for her. I have to admit that I watched her breakdown from afar and shook my head, and I really should have been praying for her.  I think that it takes a big person to look at their life and see that there is no way it can continue on the road that it’s going, then make the necessary changes.  Here’s hoping that this new marriage will be a new start for Miss Brittney, and that her life will continue to go up and up and up.

An old married woman reviews “The Bachelor”

by SweetMidlife

Leslie here! The following is a re-post of my PBPulse.com blog about why you can’t find love on a reality show. Probably. Here goes!

I believe it was late singer/owner of the world’s most fabulous blow-out Jermaine Stewart who said in his seminal “We Don’t Have To Take Our Clothes Off” – “So come on baby, won’t you show some class? Why you wanna move so fast?”

It is in the memory of Jermaine and his hair that I dedicate this to the toned, tanned datetestants of the new season of “The Bachelor”: “Oh, come on ladies, won’t you show some class? On TV drunk off of your…”

Well, you get it.

Just wish these grown women who come looking for a modeling career, umm.. a future reality show …wait,a story to relate back to the Mothership love got it too. Which is that you have less chance finding true love on a game show stocked with booze, jealousy and crazy wenches as you do finding a parking space at the gym on January 2.

I did some stupid things to find love in my 20s and 30s – it was literally in the papers. Once or twice it certainly involved tipsy declarations of love or attraction while trying to stand up. But the one thing I never did was let somebody tape me being drunk and declarative and put it on TV. That I know of. Certainly no releases were signed saying “Please, record me being a crazy drunken obsessive cow.” Any tapes of me being a drunken obsessive cow were recorded without my permission. And if there are some out there – I swear, there couldn’t be many but it only takes one.

Besides the obvious issues of voluntarily appearing as the most ridiculous, pathetic version of yourself, when you have to go back to your life with your same friends, and your same face and name, with everyone knowing what a jerk you made of yourself, let me give you beautiful, tiny, coiffed young things some advice. (In my day I would say I want to drop some knowledge on you, but then saying that without irony would make me seem even older.)

You cannot, as one of the sad sisters on the show said, plan to come on a TV game show and fall in love with some stranger who only know from watching him on TV being dumped by some other sad sister. I mean, you can plan it all you want. But there is absolutely no guarantee that this will happen, apparently when you’re basically one out of a live mail order bride collection, a zoo where a guy can pick whichever drunken exotic creature happens to fall out of her cage in front of him. As D.L. Hughley once said about bill collectors, you can expect payment any time you want. But that doesn’t mean you’re gonna get it.

I looked for love in all the wrong places, in the right places at the wrong time, and in some places in some circuses with clowns whose existence I disavow all knowledge of, just like in “Mission Impossible” but with cocktails and desperation. And when I found it, all I was looking for was a  drink with a high school classmate I hadn’t seen in 20 years. It just found me, unexpectedly and crazily, at maybe the one moment I wasn’t looking for it.  (Of course, I was in my late 30s, with no interest in applying for a dating game show – and very few of these shows seemed to be looking for not-skinny middle-aged black women, so it wasn’t probably a career option.)

All that I’m saying is that if you’re really looking for love up in there, it’s probably not gonna happen for you. And if you’re looking for a career as a professional reality show contestant, then you’re still competing in a sea of crazy. And to be the next “Bachelorette,” you have to actually get close enough to develop real feelings for the guy and get your heart dented, if not broken when you gets dumped. Is this really why you or your folks paid for grad school? Is this really how your young kids want their mom to be seen? CAN YOU LOOK YOUR GRANDMA IN THE FACE? (Or, in the case of the woman who actually brought her Grandma with her, would she be proud of having been publicly associated with you?)

All in all, you don’t have to take your dignity off to have a good time. Jermaine and his hair told me to tell you.

Hey! We might be talking to “SYTTD”‘s Randy Fenoli

by SweetMidlife

Leslie here! You might know that my day job is as a reporter for the Palm Beach Post, where I get all sorts of fun offers to do stories on things I may or may not think anyone cares about. But sometimes, we get a doozy, and one came today hawking a new special with everyone’s favorite dapper bridal fashion guru and former drag pageant queen Randy Fenoli of “Say Yes To The Dress: Please Buy This Pnina Tornai Dress.” We adore Randy not only because we love his suits, but because he is the match to any snotty princess who think he works for them.

Randy works for Kleinfeld’s. And for fashion. And for The Dream. And if you get saucy, it’s not gonna fly. Believe that. And all your snotty friends will see you on TV getting served by a dapper man who didn’t even break a sweat. Or break his smile. He’s never rude. It’s just not gonna fly well.

And now The Randy presents “Top Ten Weddings of 2011,” a new TLC special on Dec. 23, when you’re wrapping last minute presents and wanting to see famous people wrapped in fancy dresses. I wonder if Kimmy K and her three-hour marriage are included. Make. It. So. The union was maybe fake but the wedding was pretty. In a drag queen on E falling asleep during a “Platinum Weddings” marathon sort of way. Commentators include:

  • Sherri Shepherd, host/actress/comedienne
  • Rob Shuter, columnist (PopEater.com)
  • Kate Coyne, assistant managing editor (People)
  • Bonnie Fuller, editor-in-chief (HollywoodLife.com)
  • Joe Zee, creative director (Elle)
  • Sheryl Lee Ralph, actress/Niecy Nash’s matron of honor
  • Sharon Sacks, wedding planner
  • Joe Buissnik, celebrity photographer
  • Ben Fogel, royal contributor

We are trying to get a copy of the video to review, as well as an interview with the man! Would you love that? Of course you would! Pray hard, y’all!

Today’s reason I’m glad I got married: Airport pickups!

by SweetMidlife

Don't need this no more!

Leslie here!

I didn’t drive till I was 22 – the kindness of strangers and the ease of public transport helped me survive- but in the nearly two decades since then, I have paid that karmic debt back by being the queen of the ride giving. Need a designated driver? I’m there. Need a lift home from a party? Leslie’s taxi at your service! I have particularly been pressed into service as an airport transporter, largely because I was part of a network of single women who didn’t have local family or a significant other to automatically assume the duty.

But after a while, in the sunrise/sunset thingamagic that is life, things change. A lot of my mutual airport hook-ups moved away, meaning that they were now going to airports, and I no longer had anyone to reciprocate when I needed a lift. That’s particularly problematic when I’m hitting a further-away airport – the local one is ten minutes from my office, so if need be I can park there and cab it. But I’m not paying for a cab for 45 minutes, and the rail service, while available, is sometimes not convienent (read: running when the heck I need it to).

So, in the spirit of the old beer commercials, I gotta give today’s Bride at 35 Nod of Excellence, which I made up several words ago, to Mr. Legally Contracted To Pick Me Up From The Airport, otherwise known as my husband. (I know that’s probably not in the law, but that was 100 percent in my wedding vows, up there with always taping our soap operas and never punking on him.)

“If I fly out of Fort Lauderdale instead of Palm Beach, will you take me to the airport and pick me up?” I asked Scott.

“I’m almost insulted,” he said. “Of course. We’re married. Are you kidding me?”

That’s what I like to hear. I asked because I never had anyone who thought it was their duty to take me anywhere, although my sister usually does the duty when I’m on her end. I actually had a guy break up with my via text message when I was out of town but still pick me up from the airport the next day because he’d promised, making him only half a douche. And when I visited Oil Rigging Guy, my least-favorite mistake, he picked me up, but couldn’t take me to the airport because he was working. Supposedly. That guy was such a liar I sometimes think he conjured his own existence up with false memories and crocodile tears.

But my husband is a stand-up guy, and a man. A real man. The kind of man who watches fashion shows on TV because I like them, who gets insulted at the mere implication that I’d have to ask him for rides when of course he’ll give them. He’s the best man in the world, and I waited all this time to have him. And get free rides to the airport.

A Matter of Trust

by SweetMidlife

This guy sang a song named the same thing as this post. So here is his picture.

It’s Lynne here, eating stuffing and thinking.

So I read this devotional recently about trust, and why it is the cornerstone of a marriage. Actually, it’s the cornerstone of ANY relationship.  The author even said that trust is almost more important than the feeling of being in love, because love gets you NOwhere if you have no faith in the other person.  

I thought about this a few days later when I saw a beautiful production of Shakespeare’s really not very-uplifting play, “Othello”.  If you don’t know the story, it’s about an Army general (Othello) who is duped by a jealous colleague (Iago) into believing that the general’s wife (Desdemona) is cheating on him.  The “friend” uses trickery, planted evidence, gossip, outright lies, and even preys on racial prejudices and insecurities to further his plot.  The whole thing ends in several deaths and a suicide, and even though the villain gets punished, there is no happy ending. Again, really uplifting. The audience I saw it with was made up of middle-school and high-school students, and they had a Q & A session with the actors after the show.  One of the questions someone asked was about challenges the actors found as they worked on their characterizations, and the actor who played Othello said that his was this: he had to work out in his portrayal how Othello could so easily go from completely trusting Desdemona to letting Iago’s lies turn him away from that, even after Desdemona repeatedly told him that she was faithful (which she was). And I have always wondered this too. I mean, if any number of people in the play completely manipulated by Iago had said, “Wait a minute. How do you know everything? Why are you so concerned about my business?” and stepped back and thought, then the show would have ended differently, and a lot sooner. Less drama, but less dead bodies. 

And that’s the thing about trust. It means really diving in and allowing that other person’s love to seep into the places where previously you’ve been afraid to let people in.  It means being transparent and vulnerable, and that’s risky, because, the same heart you trusted to someone in giddy faith is sometimes given back to you stomped-on, beat-up and almost as an afterthought. Like, yep, I know you loved me and everything, but that doesn’t quite work for me now, so good luck with your raggedy heart I just messed up.  Because people cheat. And people lie. And they say things that they shouldn’t.

But I guess where I land on that is this.  Sometimes our honest trust is abused, and it hurts.  And no one wants to get hurt, or play the fool, which everyone plays, sometimes, I hear.   But sometimes you ARE supposed to trust other people with a  no holds-barred, I’m all-in kind of trust.  I had a boss who always advised her team to believe the best about other people and their intentions, even if it seemed as if people were trying to take advantage.  She wasn’t saying to knowingly be a dupe, or to not use common sense.  But she knew that sometimes people surprise you and do what they said they would.  Just like you would want them to trust you.  

I know that some of you out there have been hurt by parents, your kids, your spouse, your job, your church, your friends and some of you even feel like God has let you down.  And you want to hold something back the next time. I have been there. And still am sometimes.  There are times when I feel, even with my husband and very best friends, this beautiful rush of freely-flowing trust, but then I find myself questioning for a second, or looking to see who that text on his phone was from, or wondering why I wasn’t invited to the get-together that I hear people talking about, and if the “she” I hear people whispering about as I walk in the room is me.  That’s a yucky place to be. I am not saying to ignore signs that something might be wrong.  Use your inner voice to guide you.   But I am making the decision, even though it is not always easy, to choose belief over mistrust,  good intentions over possible bad ones.  Because even though we do get disappointed, I pray that you don’t let those people who hurt you have the final say in what your life looks like.  Don’t give them that power.  There are people who ARE worth your trust. Because  sometimes you will find out that people  ARE who you thought they were in the beginning.  Good, and worthy-of-love.  Go all-in. It’s a beautiful thing.  The best way to thank the people in my life who have trusted me with their love (especially the aforementioned husband) is to give that trust back.  Feels better that way.

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